International House is a hotel about New Orleans today, a city steeped, marinated, percolated and distilled for nearly 300 years and unlike any other in America.
International House Hotel and its popular Loa bar celebrate New Orleans today - an ensemble of architecture, food, music, colorful characters, joyful culture and climate unlike any other city in America. A place alive with ritual, romance and passion. One infused with European, Caribbean and African influences. And one fueled by a mosaic of humanity and the welcoming warmth of local people. It’s the only hotel in the world to celebrate these seven rituals and the only bartender in the world to pair them with his unique cocktails – a drink form created in New Orleans. It’s such an “Extravagant Taste of Place” that last summer it prompted one writer to pen, “A Faulkner-esque Southern mystic, his drinks are snippets of sippable literature that offer a far more beguiling guide for the visitor than Fodor’s.”
The hotel is at it again, with these ideas finding rich expression in the annual Summer Dress ritual. For generations New Orleanians have practiced the tradition of altering their homes for summer with a sartorial response to climate. As winter gives way to summer, formal wool shifts to sisal rugs and cotton slip covers, allowing furnishings to breathe during the months of intense heat and humidity found in this semi-tropical weather. For 2019, the soaring lobby is transformed for the more relaxed - almost island – lifestyle that accompanies summer’s heat and which reminds us all that New Orleans is the "Northernmost Caribbean City". Furniture is dressed in white cotton slipcovers with warm grey piping, hand-sewn by local artisan Janet Noble, all set to a canvas of airy seagrass throw rugs on white oak and stone floors.
Larger-than-life glass vases and whitewashed olive jars feature banana leaves, shell ginger, palms and other indigenous flora. They are an instantly familiar glimpse at the “currents” which run so deep from Haiti and Havana to still stoke this city's French and Spanish Caribbean ways. Cheerful staff add mightily to the mix, dressing in white shirt-dresses with boho headbands as well as handsome seersucker vests adorned with pewter pirate skull buttons. Made exclusively for the hotel by local Briana Henry, the vests are whimsical reference not only to a city founded by pirates but the rebel-with-a-cause in each of us. In this rebel spirt, designer Bently Graham honors Haspel, led by President and CEO Laurie Haspel Aronson, on the 110th anniversary of its founding. Graham’s “Clothes for a Summer Hotel” installation features two mannequins seated, reading Tennessee Williams’ play – Clothes For a Summer Hotel. Three others stand in conversation next to the hotel’s 10’ x 10’ BANKSY mural, the raw street art offering a gritty-port-town contrast to the refined Oyster and Midnight Blue Seersucker suits from Haspel’s 2019 collection, as well as ethereal white sheer dresses by Morgane Le Fay By far this city's most significant sartorial contribution to the fashion world, Haspel seersucker suits are more popular than ever from the US Senate to NOLA today.
From Easter to Labor Day, life is just a little bit more colorful with the daily pilgrimage of pols, bankers, esquires and fashionistas proudly sporting seersucker. Add a summer cocktail or fresh blackberry Granita created by “spirit handler” Alan Walter, and you’ll see why we celebrate this place every day. As one woman exclaimed, “Goodness, sugar, New Orleans just delights the senses!"